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Statement from IFT President Dan Montgomery on Marriage Equality

11/06/2013
"Yesterday’s historic vote for marriage equality was a huge win for civil rights in the state of Illinois. This is an important issue for IFT members who just last month overwhelmingly passed a resolution in support of marriage for all. We were proud to stand in solidarity on the front lines of this fight, and now, on the right side of history as well. Congratulations to Rep. Greg Harris and the numerous cosponsors and advocates for their tireless work on this issue."

The IFT is actively involved in the campaign for marriage equality, providing lobbying support in Springfield as well as organizing assistance on the ground to drive phone calls and other activities in communities throughout Illinois. At the IFT’s triennial convention last month, delegates voted to pass the following resolution, affirming the union's commitment to equal rights as a driving principle of our work.

Resolution:
 
MARRIAGE EQUALITY
 
Submitted by: American Federation of Teachers Local 604
 
WHEREAS, while members of the Illinois Federation of Teachers have a variety of views about marriage, according to their personal or religious beliefs, it is a fundamental, uniting principle of our organization that all people are entitled to equal rights; and
 
WHEREAS, many of our members have participated over the years – both as union members and in their communities – in movements for equal rights for all people; and
 
WHEREAS, in doing so, we have often embraced movements for equal rights that were controversial at the time and that opponents of working people’s interests tried to use as wedge issues to divide our strength; and
 
WHEREAS, as a union, we have a particular responsibility to protect equal rights in connection with collective bargaining, economic benefits, legislation, and any employer or government action that affects IFT members; and
 
WHEREAS, in that spirit, IFT has a long history of support for equal rights for gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender workers; and
 
WHEREAS, we recognize that lack of access to marriage deprives gay and lesbian working families of more than 1,000 rights and benefits afforded heterosexual families, such as spousal Social Security and pension benefits, hospital visitation rights, spousal health insurance, immigration rights, and many other federal, state, and local protections, as well as rights in the workplace; and
 
WHEREAS, civil union and domestic partnership laws, while well-intended, create an unequal legal status for same-sex couples that extended only a few of the state and local-level protections and benefits afforded “spouses” in heterosexual marriage; and
 
WHEREAS, we acknowledge that same-sex couples in Illinois may travel to other states that have marriage equality laws, we recognize that not all can afford to do so; therefore be it
 
RESOLVED, that this convention affirms the Illinois Federation of Teachers’ commitment to equal rights for all members, regardless of sexual orientation; and be it further
 
RESOLVED, that the IFT make it a collective bargaining and legislative goal to ensure that all members enjoy equal rights and benefits; and be it further
 
RESOLVED, that the IFT support the right of same-sex couples to access the full and equal rights, responsibilities, and commitment of civil marriage; and be it finally
 
RESOLVED, that the IFT support the passage of marriage equality in Illinois.
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